Most of us growing up used a booster seat for only a little bit when riding in the car with our parents. As an adolescent, we couldn’t wait til we graduated to the coveted front seat!
But new evidence is showing the need to wait to move to the front seat!
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that children should be in a child restraint like a travel vest or booster seat until they are at least 8 years old (really a bare minimum) and most preferably 4’9″ tall (often times around 10 or even 12 years old). At this height, they will fit into a normal car seat properly.
But why is it so important?
It’s because kids who are using only a lap belt, ill-fitting shoulder harness, or move the shoulder strap behind them to keep it off their neck, are at risk of SEATBELT SYNDROME.
What Causes Seatbelt Syndrome?
Traveling at just 30 miles per hour, a 40 pound child would need 1200 pounds of restraining force to keep him or her from bodily injury and harm. If you are going 60 mph, that number would change to 2400 pounds of restraining force.
When a child sits down in a car, they will most likely slouch down so their knees will reach the end of the seat. This causes the seat belt to be placed over some very important soft tissue of the belly.
Or if the seatbelt is ill-fitting because the child is too small, they will move the shoulder belt behind like this:
What Happens During a Crash?
Besides the danger of your child hitting the back of the seat or being propelled through the windshield or other injuries, there’s a very important danger that may happen even in normal crashes.
Momentum can propel a child’s front half forward over the lap belt at very high speeds. Not using a proper shoulder harness or child’s seat can cause the child’s head to hit against the back of the seat, potentially damaging or even breaking their neck. Momentum can then spring the child’s spine back, causing further damage.
Just as bad, there’s now upwards of 1,200 pounds of pressure being forced onto the soft abdomen!
The child could sustain damaged soft tissue, lacerated liver and stomach tissue, damaged spleen or bowel, a ruptured bladder, spinal damage, and internal bleeding.
Many of these internal injury symptoms don’t present themselves at the time of injury and only show up later!
Many people have called this type of injury ‘seat belt syndrome.’ This terrible injury is mainly seen is children 4-12 years old who are still not old enough to not be using a booster seat or safety vest.
So please, we urge you to keep your child in an appropriate seat of vest until they are old enough to properly be seated in a normal car seat! Doing so could save them alot of suffering and damage and even their life!